Layne Beachley - an inspiration for all of us at SurferGirls

Seven-time ASP Women's World Champion. What more does one need to say? How about the most successful female surfer of all time? Better still, how about the surfer with the greatest number of consecutive world titles, male or female?

Whatever criteria you choose, Layne Beachley is one of Australia’s greatest athletes. Having spent two decades breaking down barriers in her chosen sport, she has also committed herself for making it easier for young women to achieve their goals in their chosen fields – provided, of course, they have the will and the work ethic.

Born in 1972 and given up for adoption by her 17-year-old mother, Layne lost her adoptive mother when she was just six. She credits her adoptive father, Neil, and women including ‘Nana’ Joan Tate, with filling the void. At the age of seven, upon discovering she had been adopted, Layne decided she was going to prove her worth by being the best in the world at something – and it wasn’t long before that something became surfing.

As a 16 year old, Layne made her debut on the ASP Women’s World Tour and, by the time she was 20, she was ranked number 6 in the world. At this point in her career, Layne embarked upon a physical training regime that would set her apart from every other woman pro of the last two decades.

Winning her first event in 1993, Layne’s fierce commitment to success came at a price. In 1993 and 1996, she faced the mental, physical and emotional challenges of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also leading to depression. The mental toughness required to overcome such adversity became the foundation for achieving the goal she set herself at the age of seven – becoming a world champion.

In 1998, Layne’s determination and focus paid off and she achieved the first of 6 consecutive world titles. A rare feat in any sport, Layne’s domination of women’s surfing has earned her a place in sporting history. Having won an unprecedented seventh world title, Layne continues to lead the way in women’s surfing as she competes in her 18th year on the tour.

Layne’s competitive drive is now present both in and out of the water. With the launch of the Beachley Athletic brand for women , Layne is a budding entrepreneur; willing to learn and dedicated to success. In 2006, Layne staged the richest event in women’s surfing history; the Havaianas Beachley Classic at Manly Beach, Sydney. A huge success, the event has the NSW Government’s support for a further two years.

Media savvy and ever entertaining, Layne is regularly sought by the media for her quick wit and insight. Her unswerving commitment to the betterment of women’s surfing has also been felt by the ASP, pro surfing’s governing body. As the lone female board member for several years, Layne was steadfastly committed to ensuring that women enjoyed the same opportunities and conditions in the sport as the men. In addition to her surfing and business commitments, Layne created the Aim for the Stars Foundation in 2003 to support and help young women across Australia realize their dreams in fields as diverse as academia, sport, the arts and culture (

At the conclusion of the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, Layne announced her retirement from full-time professional surfing. Following this announcement, Layne’s achievements and contributions to sport and the community have been recognised through the following awards:

  • Legendary Performer of the Year at the Sports Performer of the Year Awards (judged by a panel of Fairfax Sports Journalists)
  • NSW Government Woman of the Year finalist
  • Australian of the Year nominee.

The constant in all of the above, is the conviction that there are no boundaries when it comes to realising one’s potential.


Highest ASP Women's World Tour ranking: Seven-time ASP Women's World Champion (1998-2004, 2006)

Years on ASP Women's World Tour: 19 (Layne was a rookie in 1990)

Rating by year:
2007: 5th
2006: 1st
2005: 5th
2004: 4th
2003: 1st
2002: 1st
2001: 1st
2000: 1st
1999: 1st
1998: 1st
1997: 2nd
1996: 3rd
1995: 2nd
1994: 4th
1993: 6th
1992: 10th
1991: 12th
1990: 17th
1989: 48th

Honor roll: Seven-time ASP Women's World Champion (1998-2004, 2006), inducted into the US and Australian Surfing Halls of Fame (2006), USA Teen Choice Awards, Extreme Female Athlete of the Year (2005), Laureus World Alternate Sports Person Of the Year (2004), Australian Female Athlete of the Year (2003), NSW Sports Star of the Year ('00, '02, '03), Australia's 50 Most Beautiful Exports Honors list, Surfer Magazine Female Surfer of the Year ('03, '04), ASM-Australian Sports Medal (2000), Fairfax Legendary Performer of the Year (2009), NSW Government Woman of the Year finalist (2009), Australian of the Year nominee (2009).

Elite tour victories: (29)
Billabong Pro Brazil (2006)
Roxy Pro Hawaii (2004)
Roxy Pro Gold Coast (2003)
Roxy Pro France (2002)
Billabong Pro Tahiti (2001)
Billabong Pro Australia (2000)
e11even Pro Women's (2000)
Hossegor Rip Curl Pro (2000)
Quiksilver Roxy Pro (2000)
SunSmart Classic(1999)
Diet Coke Surf Classic (1999)
Newquay Pro (UK)(1999)
Quiksilver Roxy Pro (Haw)(1999)
Gunston 500 Women (1999)
SunSmart Classic (1998)
Diet Coke Surf Classic (1998)
Tokushima Pro (1998)
Kahlua US Open (1998)
Rip Curl Pro Hossegor (1998)
Quiksilver Roxy Pro (1997)
Quiksilver Roxy Pro (1997)
Cleanwater Classic (1996)
Wahine Women's (1996)
US Women's Open (1996)
OP Pro (1996)
Roxy Quiksilver Pro (1996)
Rip Curl Pro Hossegor (1995)
Quit Women's Classic (1994)
Diet Coke Classic (1993)

Films: Step Into Liquid (2003), Billabong Odyssey (2003) and Blue Crush (2002)

Charities: The Layne Beachley Aim For The Stars Foundation (founder), National Breast Cancer Foundation (ambassador), Planet Ark (ambassador), Day of Difference Foundation (ambassador)

This information is taken from The Focus Series:

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